High School Sports

Actions

Montana High School Association announces 8-Man realignment, baseball divisions, other actions

MHSA logo
Posted at 6:33 PM, Jan 18, 2024

BOZEMAN — During an annual Executive Board meeting that concluded Monday, the Montana High School Association approved several proposals.

Among the actions taken was an alignment change for 8-Man football as well as the approval for division arrangement for the 2024 baseball season.

There will be four 8-Man divisions for the 2024 season instead of five: East, South, North and West. St. Regis is joining the 8-Man West division after previously co-oping with Mullan, Idaho. In the North, Hays-Lodgepole will play a JV schedule only.

The division alignment will be as follows:

EAST

Broadus
Ekalaka
Circle
Culbertson
Fairview
Forsyth
Plentywood
Poplar
Scobey-Opheim
Wibaux

SOUTH

Drummond-Philipsburg
Ennis
Lone Peak
Manhattan Christian
Lame Deer
Lodge Grass
Park City
Deer Lodge
Saint Labre
Sheridan
Twin Bridges

NORTH

Belt
Cascade
Chinook
Choteau
Fort Benton
Harlem-Turner
Hays-Lodgepole (JV Only)
Rocky Boy
Simms
Shelby

WEST

Arlee
Charlo
Darby
Plains
St. Ignatius
Superior
Seeley-Swan
St. Regis
Troy
Valley Christian
Victor

For the 2024 baseball season, following the inaugural year for the sport in high school in 2023, there will be 25 teams with most still residing in the western portion of the state. The divisions will line out as follows:

EAST

Belgrade
Columbus
East Helena
Lone Peak
Livingston-Big Timber
Sidney-Fairview

SOUTHWEST

Dillon-Twin Bridges
Butte
Butte Central
Corvallis
Florence-Carlton
Hamilton-Darby
Stevensville

WEST

Frenchtown
Plains-Hot Springs
Polson
Ronan
St. Ignatius
Thompson Falls-Noxon

NORTHWEST

Bigfork
Browning
Columbia Falls
Eureka
Troy
Whitefish

Additionally, the board announced that all division champions will automatically qualify for the state tournament. Play-in games will be held either Saturday, May 18, or Monday, May 20, to determine the remaining four state tourney teams.

The Montana High School Association earlier this week announced the creation of a new executive board position solely for Native American representation. The vote passed and the board will now begin preparing for a 2025 election.

“We, as an association, recognized that diversity and the understanding of different cultures and everything is very important in how we proceed,” said Brian Michelotti, the executive director of the MHSA, in an interview with MTN Sports.

"I think it's so important to make sure that some of our concerns that we hear on an annual basis and regular basis be addressed and heard ... that there’s a better understanding of the Native American culture on our board."

Other actions included:

  • Realignment for basketball, track and field and volleyball for the 13C and 14C districts. The 13C and 14C will now consolidate to become the 13C in 2024-25. The following schools will represent District 13C: Alberton, Charlo, Drummond, Granite, Hot Springs, Lincoln, Noxon, St. Regis, SeeleySwan, Two Eagle River, Valley Christian and Victor.
  • A change to qualifying procedures for the Class C Southern Divisional track meet was approved. Last year in the 4C, 5C and 6C district meets, the top two places qualified for divisionals and then the next four best overall times/distances/heights also qualified. Beginning this year, the same procedures will be in place, but participants will also qualify for divisionals through divisional qualifying marks.
  • The Board approving a five-person officiating crew to be used for postseason competition in 6-Man football when available for the first round, and will be required for each subsequent round.

The MHSA also amended its bylaws for transfer students and charter-school student participation. To read the full synopsis from the MHSA's Executive Board meeting, see below.